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Skagen
Town
Coat of arms
Country Denmark
Region Region Nordjylland
Municipality Frederikshavn municipality
Coordinates 57°43′23.24″N 10°35′52.30″E / 57.7231222°N 10.597861°E / 57.7231222; 10.597861
Population 9,380 (2006-01-01)
Timezone CET (UTC+1)
 - summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 9990
Skagen (top center) in Denmark

Skagen (The Skaw) is a projection of land and a town in Region Nordjylland on the northernmost tip of Vendsyssel-Thy, a part of the Jutland peninsula in northern Denmark. Skagen is located in Frederikshavn municipality.

Contents

Geography

The very northmost point of Denmark is called Grenen (The Branch).

Skagen takes its name from the region, which projects into the waters between the North Sea and the straits of Denmark. Skagen is considered the boundary between the Skagerrak (named after Skagen) and the Kattegat. At its very tip is a sandy, shifting headland known as Grenen. Here it's possible to experience the sight of waves clashing together from each side of the tip. Danish national road 40 also passes through Skagen.

Skagen stretches out to the northeast surrounded by the following waters:

  • to the east is Ålbæk Bay (Ålbæk Bugt) and beyond that the waters of the Kattegat, the strait that separates Denmark from Sweden
  • to the west is Tannis Bay (Tannis Bugt) and beyond that the waters of the Skagerrak, the strait that separates Denmark from Norway

Description

The area is extremely picturesque, and distinguished by its low, yellow houses with red tile roofs nestled into the beach areas. The impressive and wild landscape was largely formed by a severe process of desertification that hit the area in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Problems with moving dunes and desertification were brought under control in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries by large-scale plantations of grasses, bushes and fir trees. Two significant migratory dunes remain in the area, including the enormous Råbjerg Mile.

The area is closely associated with the Skagen Painters, a community of artists (artist colony), who flocked to this picturesque, and then unspoiled, area in the late 1800s to escape the city and to record artistically a way of life they realized was soon to disappear.

The area continues to be a popular tourist destination visited by many people each year. A highlight of the year is the celebration of Midsummer Eve or St. John's Evening (Sankt Hans Aften) on the beach with blazing bonfire and song.

Skagen is the setting for small but important parts of Jonathan Coe's novels The Rotters Club and The Closed Circle.

History

The sand-engulfed Buried Church (tilsandede kirke) at Skagen.

Always sparsely populated, until recently Skagen has been of interest mainly to mariners. Of the region now known as Skagen, Pliny the Elder says (Book IV.97):

"Promenturium Cimbrorum excurrens in maria longe paeninsulam efficit quae Tastris appellatur."
"The promontory of the Cimbri running far out into the seas makes a peninsula, which is called Tastris."

The name Tastris is a hapax legomenon, recorded only once in all of history. Its meaning is not known: it may be the name assigned by the pre-Indo-European Mesolithic culture that once dwelled in the region, or by the subsequent agriculturalists.

Skagen, on the other hand, seems to follow Pliny's description of a projection running out into the "seas" (maria). There is a set of obscure words in modern Germanic languages that seem relevant: English skeg, a projection of a ship's keel, shag, a surface with projections, Swedish skägg (pronounced sheg), "beard". The root remains as yet unidentified.

Once a remote fishing area, it become considerably easier to travel to Skagen after it became connected to the rest of the country via a railroad line in 1890. A paved road followed in the 1940s.

Attractions

The historic Brøndums Hotel in Skagen, Denmark. 2002.
The Skagen lighthouse from the 1850s.

The headland at Grenen, the northernmost point of Denmark, is a spectacular setting where two parts of the North Sea, the Kattegat and the Skagerrak, meet. This makes for turbulent seas and strandings — beachings and shipwrecks are common. The frequent shipping losses and the strategic location as the gateway to the Baltic led to Skagen being the site of one of Denmark's earliest lighthouses, the Vippefyr, constructed in the 15th century. A reconstruction of the lighthouse is located to the north of the town of Skagen.

The lighthouse was originally built and funded by the late Medieval Danish state with the proceeds of the "sound dues", and was superseded by the "white lighthouse" or hvidefyr in the 17th century, and then the far taller "grey lighthouse" or gråfyr of the 1850s.

The desertification that hit the area in the 18th and 19th centuries led to the abandonment of the old parish church to the migrating sands — the famous Buried Church (Den tilsandende Kirke). The tower of the church remains protruding from the dunes, as it was left as a sea marker when the church was abandoned at the close of the 18th century.

In central Skagen there is a teddy bear museum called Skagen Bamsemuseum[1]. The teddy bears on display belong to the private collection of the owner Jonna Thygesen.

Famous residents of the town

Summer Evening on the Beach at Skagen. Artist and His Wife (Sommeraften ved Skagens strand. Kunstneren og hans hustru) Painting by Peder Severin Krøyer. 1899. The Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen.

The Skagen Painters, which enjoyed the reputation of a bohemian lifestyle, encompassed not only painters, but also writers, and other influential people as well. While only a few were fulltime residents of the area, they were often joined by friends, especially during the summer months. Among these notable visitors and residents of the time were writers Holger Drachmann, Georg Brandes,Hans Christian Andersen, and Henrik Pontoppidan, artists Peder Severin Krøyer, Marie Triepcke Krøyer Alfvén, Christian Krohg, Michael Ancher and Anna Ancher, and composers Carl Nielsen and Hugo Alfvén. They were often gathered at the area's Brøndum's Hotel, which is still in operation today.

See also

References

External links

Skagen Guide - a guide to the Skagen area

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Skagen is a town in North Jutland.

Understand

Skagens main income is tourism. There's almost nobody in Skagen outside the school holidays. Skagen is the northernmost town in Denmark, with the northernmost point in Denmark; Grenen. This is where the the Baltic sea (Østersøen) and the North Sea (Nordsøen) meet.

By train

The semi private Nordjyske Jernbaner [1] railway runs between Frederikshavn, interchange with the national railway system, and Skagen.

By car

The easiest option is following the E45 highway to Frederikshavn and take national road 40 from there. To the port of Hirtshals with ferry connections to Norway, catch road 597 Skagensvej/Hirsthalsvej and make a turn in the village Ålbæk.

Get around

Grenen, the northernmost point in Denmark. Use road #40 to get there. There is aprox. 2-3km from the parking lot to Grenen.

  • Fishing: The harbour in Skagen is a good place to fish, because of the two seas meeting at Grenen.
  • Skagen Kultur & Fritidscenter: Indoor swimming, Handball, Volley, Badminton. Does also have a small restaurant.
  • SkawBowling: A bowling center with 8 bowling lanes, pool tables, slot machines an a restaurant.
  • Skagen Turist arranges guided tours in Skagen
  • Bike rental: Bikes can be rented at Skagen Cykeludlejning [2]
  • Brøndums Hotel, [3]. Prices starting at 87€.  edit
  • Color Hotel, [4]. Prices starting at 106€.  edit
  • Hotel Petit, [5]. Prices starting at 83€.  edit
  • Aalbæk Gl. Kro, [6]. Prices starting at 105€.  edit
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